Transcriptional Response to C1 and methylated compounds in Pelagibacter HTCC1062
ABSTRACT: Recent studies have shown that Pelagibacter oxidize a wide range of one carbon (C1) and methylated compounds that are ubiquitous in the oceans. However, the metabolic pathways used to oxidize and assimilate these compounds are complex and have been only partly described. To understand the metabolism of these compounds in Pelagibacter and to identify candidate genes involved in these pathways, we used microarray to study changes in gene expression in response to five different compounds (trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), methylamine, dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), methanol, and glycine betaine (GBT)) in Pelagibacter strain HTCC1062. This project will examine the transcriptional response of the marine microorganism Pelagibacter HTCC1062 to five methylated compounds. To do this, 18 flasks were innoculated with cells - 3 flasks without any methylated compounds and rest of 15 treated with different methylated compounds respectively (TMAO (trtmA), methylamine (trtmB), DMSP (trtmC), methanol (trtmD) and glycine betaine (trtmE)). Cells were all harvested at the same timepoint in the exponential phase.
Project description:Recent studies have shown that Pelagibacter oxidize a wide range of one carbon (C1) and methylated compounds that are ubiquitous in the oceans. However, the metabolic pathways used to oxidize and assimilate these compounds are complex and have been only partly described. To understand the metabolism of these compounds in Pelagibacter and to identify candidate genes involved in these pathways, we used microarray to study changes in gene expression in response to five different compounds (trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), methylamine, dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), methanol, and glycine betaine (GBT)) in Pelagibacter strain HTCC1062. Overall design: This project will examine the transcriptional response of the marine microorganism Pelagibacter HTCC1062 to five methylated compounds. To do this, 18 flasks were innoculated with cells - 3 flasks without any methylated compounds and rest of 15 treated with different methylated compounds respectively (TMAO (trtmA), methylamine (trtmB), DMSP (trtmC), methanol (trtmD) and glycine betaine (trtmE)). Cells were all harvested at the same timepoint in the exponential phase.
Project description:The SAR11 Alphaproteobacteria are the most abundant heterotrophs in the oceans and are believed to play a major role in mineralizing marine dissolved organic carbon. Their genomes are among the smallest known for free-living heterotrophic cells, raising questions about how they successfully utilize complex organic matter with a limited metabolic repertoire. Here we show that conserved genes in SAR11 subgroup Ia (Candidatus Pelagibacter ubique) genomes encode pathways for the oxidation of a variety of one-carbon compounds and methyl functional groups from methylated compounds. These pathways were predicted to produce energy by tetrahydrofolate (THF)-mediated oxidation, but not to support the net assimilation of biomass from C1 compounds. Measurements of cellular ATP content and the oxidation of (14)C-labeled compounds to (14)CO(2) indicated that methanol, formaldehyde, methylamine, and methyl groups from glycine betaine (GBT), trimethylamine (TMA), trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), and dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) were oxidized by axenic cultures of the SAR11 strain Ca. P. ubique HTCC1062. Analyses of metagenomic data showed that genes for C1 metabolism occur at a high frequency in natural SAR11 populations. In short term incubations, natural communities of Sargasso Sea microbial plankton expressed a potential for the oxidation of (14)C-labeled formate, formaldehyde, methanol and TMAO that was similar to cultured SAR11 cells and, like cultured SAR11 cells, incorporated a much larger percentage of pyruvate and glucose (27-35%) than of C1 compounds (2-6%) into biomass. Collectively, these genomic, cellular and environmental data show a surprising capacity for demethylation and C1 oxidation in SAR11 cultures and in natural microbial communities dominated by SAR11, and support the conclusion that C1 oxidation might be a significant conduit by which dissolved organic carbon is recycled to CO(2) in the upper ocean.
Project description:Nine marine methanogenic Methanococcoides strains, including the type strains of Methanococcoides methylutens, M. burtonii, and M. alaskense, were tested for the utilization of N-methylated glycines. Three strains (NM1, PM2, and MKM1) used glycine betaine (N,N,N-trimethylglycine) as a substrate for methanogenesis, partially demethylating it to N,N-dimethylglycine, whereas none of the strains used N,N-dimethylglycine or sarcosine (N-methylglycine). Growth rates and growth yields per mole of substrate with glycine betaine (3.96 g [dry weight] per mol) were similar to those with trimethylamine (4.11 g [dry weight] per mol). However, as glycine betaine is only partially demethylated, the yield per methyl group was significantly higher than with trimethylamine. If glycine betaine and trimethylamine are provided together, trimethylamine is demethylated to dimethyl- and methylamine with limited glycine betaine utilization. After trimethylamine is depleted, dimethylamine and glycine betaine are consumed rapidly, before methylamine. Glycine betaine extends the range of substrates that can be directly utilized by some methanogens, allowing them to gain energy from the substrate without the need for syntrophic partners.
Project description:Osmolyte accumulation and release can protect cells from abiotic stresses. In Escherichia coli, known mechanisms mediate osmotic stress-induced accumulation of K(+) glutamate, trehalose, or zwitterions like glycine betaine. Previous observations suggested that additional osmolyte accumulation mechanisms (OAMs) exist and their impacts may be abiotic stress specific. Derivatives of the uropathogenic strain CFT073 and the laboratory strain MG1655 lacking known OAMs were created. CFT073 grew without osmoprotectants in minimal medium with up to 0.9 M NaCl. CFT073 and its OAM-deficient derivative grew equally well in high- and low-osmolality urine pools. Urine-grown bacteria did not accumulate large amounts of known or novel osmolytes. Thus, CFT073 showed unusual osmotolerance and did not require osmolyte accumulation to grow in urine. Yeast extract and brain heart infusion stimulated growth of the OAM-deficient MG1655 derivative at high salinity. Neither known nor putative osmoprotectants did so. Glutamate and glutamine accumulated after growth with either organic mixture, and no novel osmolytes were detected. MG1655 derivatives retaining individual OAMs were created. Their abilities to mediate osmoprotection were compared at 15°C, 37°C without or with urea, and 42°C. Stress protection was not OAM specific, and variations in osmoprotectant effectiveness were similar under all conditions. Glycine betaine and dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) were the most effective. Trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) was a weak osmoprotectant and a particularly effective urea protectant. The effectiveness of glycine betaine, TMAO, and proline as osmoprotectants correlated with their preferential exclusion from protein surfaces, not with their propensity to prevent protein denaturation. Thus, their effectiveness as stress protectants correlated with their ability to rehydrate the cytoplasm.
Project description:The demethylation of the algal osmolyte dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) to methylthiopropionate (MTPA) by (homo)acetogenic bacteria was studied. Five Eubacterium limosum strains (including the type strain), Sporomusa ovata DSM 2662(T), Sporomusa sphaeroides DSM 2875(T), and Acetobacterium woodii DSM 1030(T) were shown to demethylate DMSP stoichiometrically to MTPA. The (homo)acetogenic fermentation based on this demethylation did not result in any significant increase in biomass. The analogous demethylation of glycine betaine to dimethylglycine does support growth of acetogens. In batch cultures of E. limosum PM31 DMSP and glycine betaine were demethylated simultaneously. In mixed substrates experiments with fructose-DMSP or methanol-DMSP, DMSP was used rapidly but only after exhaustion of the fructose or the methanol. In steady-state fructose-limited chemostat cultures (at a dilution rate of 0.03 h(-1)) with DMSP as a second reservoir substrate, DMSP was biotransformed to MTPA but this did not result in higher biomass values than in cultures without DMSP; cells from such cultures demethylated DMSP at rates of approximately 50 nmol min(-1) mg of protein(-1), both after growth in the presence of DMSP and after growth in its absence. In cell extracts of glycine betaine-grown strain PM31, DMSP demethylation activities of 21 to 24 nmol min(-1) mg of protein(-1) were detected with tetrahydrofolate as a methyl acceptor; the activities seen with glycine betaine were approximately 10-fold lower. A speculative explanation for the demethylation of DMSP without an obvious benefit for the organism is that the DMSP-demethylating activity is catalyzed by the glycine betaine-demethylating enzyme and that a transport-related factor, in particular a higher energy demand for DMSP transport across the cytoplasmic membrane than for glycine betaine transport, may reduce the overall ATP yield of the fermentation to virtually zero.
Project description:The trimethylammonium compound glycine betaine (N,N, N-trimethylglycine) can be accumulated to high intracellular concentrations, conferring enhanced osmo- and cryotolerance upon Listeria monocytogenes. We report the identification of betL, a gene encoding a glycine betaine uptake system in L. monocytogenes, isolated by functional complementation of the betaine uptake mutant Escherichia coli MKH13. The betL gene is preceded by a consensus sigmaB-dependent promoter and is predicted to encode a 55-kDa protein (507 amino acid residues) with 12 transmembrane regions. BetL exhibits significant sequence homologies to other glycine betaine transporters, including OpuD from Bacillus subtilis (57% identity) and BetP from Corynebacterium glutamicum (41% identity). These high-affinity secondary transporters form a subset of the trimethylammonium transporter family specific for glycine betaine, whose substrates possess a fully methylated quaternary ammonium group. The observed Km value of 7.9 microM for glycine betaine uptake after heterologous expression of betL in E. coli MKH13 is consistent with values obtained for L. monocytogenes in other studies. In addition, a betL knockout mutant which is significantly affected in its ability to accumulate glycine betaine in the presence or absence of NaCl has been constructed in L. monocytogenes. This mutant is also unable to withstand concentrations of salt as high as can the BetL+ parent, signifying the role of the transporter in Listeria osmotolerance.
Project description:Many studies suggest that trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), a gut-flora-dependent metabolite of choline, contributes to the risk of cardiovascular diseases, but little is known for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). We examined the association of circulating TMAO, choline and betaine with the presence and severity of NAFLD in Chinese adults. We performed a hospital-based case-control study (CCS) and a cross-sectional study (CSS). In the CCS, we recruited 60 biopsy-proven NAFLD cases and 35 controls (18-60 years) and determined serum concentrations of TMAO, choline and betaine by HPLC-MS/MS. For the CSS, 1,628 community-based adults (40-75 years) completed the blood tests and ultrasonographic NAFLD evaluation. In the CCS, analyses of covariance showed adverse associations of ln-transformed serum levels of TMAO, choline and betaine/choline ratio with the scores of steatosis and total NAFLD activity (NAS) (all P-trend <0.05). The CSS revealed that a greater severity of NAFLD was independently correlated with higher TMAO but lower betaine and betaine/choline ratio (all P-trend <0.05). No significant choline-NAFLD association was observed. Our findings showed adverse associations between the circulating TMAO level and the presence and severity of NAFLD in hospital- and community-based Chinese adults, and a favorable betaine-NAFLD relationship in the community-based participants.
Project description:Both crystallization and cryoprotection are often bottlenecks for high-resolution X-ray structure determination of macromolecules. Methylamine osmolytes are known stabilizers of protein structure. One such osmolyte, trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), has seen occasional use as an additive to improve macromolecular crystal quality and has recently been shown to be an effective cryoprotective agent for low-temperature data collection. Here, TMAO and the related osmolytes sarcosine and betaine are investigated as primary precipitating agents for protein crystal growth. Crystallization experiments were undertaken with 14 proteins. Using TMAO, seven proteins crystallized in a total of 13 crystal forms, including a new tetragonal crystal form of trypsin. The crystals diffracted well, and eight of the 13 crystal forms could be effectively cryocooled as grown with TMAO as an in situ cryoprotective agent. Sarcosine and betaine produced crystals of four and two of the 14 proteins, respectively. In addition to TMAO, sarcosine and betaine were effective post-crystallization cryoprotective agents for two different crystal forms of thermolysin. Precipitation reactions of TMAO with several transition-metal ions (Fe(3+), Co(2+), Cu(2+) and Zn(2+)) did not occur with sarcosine or betaine and were inhibited for TMAO at lower pH. Structures of proteins from TMAO-grown crystals and from crystals soaked in TMAO, sarcosine or betaine were determined, showing osmolyte binding in five of the 12 crystals tested. When an osmolyte was shown to bind, it did so near the protein surface, interacting with water molecules, side chains and backbone atoms, often at crystal contacts.
Project description:Chemoheterotrophic marine bacteria of the SAR11 clade are Earth's most abundant organisms. Following the first cultivation of a SAR11 bacterium, 'Candidatus Pelagibacter ubique' strain HTCC1062 (Ca. P. ubique) in 2002, unusual nutritional requirements were identified for reduced sulfur compounds and glycine or serine. These requirements were linked to genome streamlining resulting from selection for efficient resource utilization in nutrient-limited ocean habitats. Here we report the first successful cultivation of Ca. P. ubique on a defined artificial seawater medium (AMS1), and an additional requirement for pyruvate or pyruvate precursors. Optimal growth was observed with the collective addition of inorganic macro- and micronutrients, vitamins, methionine, glycine and pyruvate. Methionine served as the sole sulfur source but methionine and glycine were not sufficient to support growth. Optimal cell yields were obtained when the stoichiometry between glycine and pyruvate was 1:4, and incomplete cell division was observed in cultures starved for pyruvate. Glucose and oxaloacetate could fully replace pyruvate, but not acetate, taurine or a variety of tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates. Moreover, both glycine betaine and serine could substitute for glycine. Interestingly, glycolate partially restored growth in the absence of glycine. We propose that this is the result of the use of glycolate, a product of phytoplankton metabolism, as both a carbon source for respiration and as a precursor to glycine. These findings are important because they provide support for the hypothesis that some micro-organisms are challenging to cultivate because of unusual nutrient requirements caused by streamlining selection and gene loss. Our findings also illustrate unusual metabolic rearrangements that adapt these cells to extreme oligotrophy, and underscore the challenge of reconstructing metabolism from genome sequences in organisms that have non-canonical metabolic pathways.
Project description:Existing metagenome datasets from many different environments contain untapped potential for understanding metabolic pathways and their biological impact. Our interest lies in the formation of trimethylamine (TMA), a key metabolite in both human health and climate change. Here, we focus on bacterial degradation pathways for choline, carnitine, glycine betaine and trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) to TMA in human gut and marine metagenomes. We found the TMAO reductase pathway was the most prevalent pathway in both environments. Proteobacteria were found to contribute the majority of the TMAO reductase pathway sequences, except in the stressed gut, where Actinobacteria dominated. Interestingly, in the human gut metagenomes, a high proportion of the Proteobacteria hits were accounted for by the genera Klebsiella and Escherichia. Furthermore Klebsiella and Escherichia harboured three of the four potential TMA-production pathways (choline, carnitine and TMAO), suggesting they have a key role in TMA cycling in the human gut. In addition to the intensive TMAO-TMA cycling in the marine environment, our data suggest that carnitine-to-TMA transformation plays an overlooked role in aerobic marine surface waters, whereas choline-to-TMA transformation is important in anaerobic marine sediments. Our study provides new insights into the potential key microbes and metabolic pathways for TMA formation in two contrasting environments.